How To Win Over Any Admissions Officer
The most important thing to remember when filling out your college applications is that the admissions process is personal. This is key because so many students either forget it or just don’t know it. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you can put yourself ahead of the other applicants competing for a few precious spots available at your dream school.
A college admissions officer will read your college application. This is a living, breathing human being who is truly searching to make a meaningful connection with a student. Meaningful connections are personal.
So, how can you make this a meaningful connection with your admissions officer?
Well, even if you’ve never met the admissions officer who handles your area of the country, here’s a little thumbnail sketch of her. Yes, I said “her.” Chances are that your admissions officer is female and in her late 20’s to mid 30’s. She’s a college graduate and is passionate about her job, even if she’s a little tired from having to read her millionth “dead grandmother” essay. She understands that it’s her job to find students that fit well into their college community. Keep in mind, she’s not just looking for the smartest students, she’s looking to create a diverse population of students with different backgrounds and interests.
Just like you, your admissions officer has a set of dreams, expectations, motivations and things that she considers important. Now, wouldn’t it be easy to make a meaningful connection if you knew what your admissions officer’s dreams, expectations, motivations and things she considers important were? Well, figuring out what your admissions officer cares about is not as complicated as you think.
The first thing that an admissions officer cares about is getting to know you. Your grades and scores have given her some indication as to what kind of student you are, but she wants to get to know the real you. It’s not as important to tell her what you’ve done or who you want to be as it is to tell her who you are right now! She wants to know if you’re funny or serious, introverted or extroverted and most importantly, what the things are that interest you most. She can’t get that from your grades and scores. She can only learn it if you tell it to her in your personal statement.
Next, she’s going to want to know that you’re intellectually curious. This means that you’ve become interested in something. It could be something as simple as fixing up old cars, collecting stamps, working out, trying to make the world’s greatest chocolate cake, etc. Show her how this interest became a passion. Explain the research you’ve done on the subject. Tell her about experiments you’ve attempted and how your knowledge has grown on the subject. College is about learning and if you show her how you’ve learned on your own, you’re going to get the interest of your admissions officer.
You’re also going to want to show your admissions officer that you’re open to diversity. This means that you’re willing to listen to new ideas, even if they challenge what you believe. In the case of the person trying to make the world’s greatest chocolate cake, maybe she got some ideas from her aunt who had never made a chocolate cake, but made amazing brownies.
Lastly, you’re going to want to show your admissions officer that you are committed to growth. If you are committed to growth, you’re determined to learn – no matter where that journey takes you. Maybe you had to learn some German in order to fix the transmission in a 1956 Volkswagen Beetle.
If you can show your admissions officer who you are, how you’re intellectually curious, committed to growth and open to diversity, you just took a major step towards getting into your dream school!